October 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Army Secretary Calls on Congress to Ensure Pentagon Can Aid Israel, Ukraine 

October 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Army Secretary Calls on Congress to Ensure Pentagon Can Aid Israel, Ukraine 

Latest Developments 

U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth on October 9 urged Congress to ensure the Pentagon has adequate resources to provide military aid to both Israel and Ukraine. The Pentagon intends to “lean forward in support of Israel,” just as it has done with Ukraine, she said. But Wormuth stressed it “is really important” that Congress provide additional funding to ensure Washington can simultaneously support the two countries. “We need additional support from Congress” to expand production of key munitions and to pay for munition transfers to Israel and Ukraine, Wormuth stated. “I hope we’ll see that soon.” 

Expert Analysis 

“Congressional inaction is already hurting the Ukrainian and American militaries. I hope the House of Representatives resolves its leadership issues by next week and acts quickly to move legislation related to Ukraine and Israel. This is a very bad time to have Congress missing in action.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power 

“Israel is a close ally under assault from Iranian-backed terrorists. Israel has never asked the United States to put its own forces in danger, but the Israelis do need key U.S. assistance with munitions required to deal with the multitude of threats arrayed against them. The United States should immediately support Israel with precision munitions that limit collateral damage and air defense munitions that protect Israel’s civilian population.” — RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery, Senior Fellow and Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation 

“The United States has the wherewithal to support both Israel and Ukraine. Congress should not fall for claims that argue otherwise. The best thing Congress can do now is fulfill the administration’s request for additional aid funding.” — John Hardie, Deputy Director of FDD’s Russia Program 

U.S. Has Begun Delivering Military Aid to Israel 

On October 10, John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said the “first tranche” of U.S. military aid is on its way to Israel. The administration “fully expect[s] that there will be additional requests for security assistance from Israel as they continue to expend munitions in this fight,” he added. According to a senior Pentagon official, the U.S. assistance “includes air defense and … critically needed munitions of various types.”  

America Can Support Both Partners 

Some members of Congress have called for Ukraine aid funding to be redirected to Israel. But as a senior Pentagon official emphasized on October 9, “we are able to continue our support both to Ukraine, Israel, and maintain our own global readiness.” At an October 8 briefing, Pentagon officials assured senators that the Defense Department has not denied any Israeli aid requests, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said

The administration can send aid to Israel using its $100 million presidential drawdown authority (PDA) for fiscal year 2024. Under PDA, the Pentagon draws directly from existing U.S. stocks to expedite delivery. Should existing funds prove insufficient, Kirby said the administration would “go back to Capitol Hill for additional funding.” 

As a last resort, the administration also has around $5.4 billion in unused fiscal year 2023 PDA funding intended for Ukraine. That amount should be sufficient to meet both Israel’s and Ukraine’s immediate needs. But Congress will need to move quickly to provide additional PDA funding to ensure the administration can continue to meet Kyiv’s needs.  

Congressional inaction damages both Ukrainian and US militaries,” by John Hardie and Bradley Bowman 

In Support of Israel, U.S. Sends Aircraft Carrier Strike Group to Eastern Mediterranean,” FDD Flash Brief 

A 21st century pogrom: The final failure of Israel’s land-for-peace experiment,” by Clifford D. May 


Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy Ukraine